Grove City Hosts 350 Girls for STEM Summit

GROVE CITY, Pa. – Grove City College welcomed about 350 girls from high schools and middle school girls Wednesday for a day-long exploration of the STEM disciplines – science, technology engineering and mathematics.

Hosted by the College and Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV, a regional educational resources center headquartered in Grove City, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Women’s Initiative STEM Summit was designed to inspire young women to pursue STEM careers.

Students from the following districts participated: Grove City Area; Hermitage; Ellwood City Area; Karns City Area; Laurel; Lawrence County Career and Technical Center; Moniteau; Neshannock; New Castle Area; Mercer Area; Shenango Area; and Wilmington Area.

In a second floor laboratory, students crowded around lab tables to make glue and lip gloss. Downstairs, others were using a few chemicals and colored water to create a stretchy polymer gel and see who could make the longest string. In other locations they learned the ins and outs of engineering and material science.

Elsewhere on campus, students were getting an overview of STEM fields and some more inspiration from a pair of female Massachusetts Institute of Technology students along with tours of Grove City College buildings and labs devoted to STEM.

“We were expecting 100, 150 students. We got more than double that. It’s amazing,” said Dianne McGaffic, educational consultant with the MIU IV.

Dr. Stacy Birmingham, dean of the College’s Hopeman School of Science, Engineering and Mathematics, said the event was a great way to introduce young women to the hard sciences. Speaking from experience, she said more women should consider STEM careers.

“Opportunities such as this are critical to increasing the number of women that pursue STEM careers, which is necessary to meet the growing national need for STEM professionals,” Birmingham said. “My own desire to pursue engineering was fostered by professionals that I met while in high school, and it is my hope that this event will spark an interest in the STEM disciplines for many of these young women.”

Pictured: Local students experiment with polymers  at the MIT Women’s Initiative STEM Summit.

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